• Bobby Dye

Finding certainty amidst uncertainty

Do you ever get an uneasy feeling? You know, the unsettling one that typically creeps up on you, but due to today’s uncertainty with the pandemic, is emphatic.

Pandemic


The coronavirus, large in part, has been and will continue to be for some time, the great equalizer for all of us. The world is at a standstill right now. Jobs have been lost, bills aren’t being paid, individuals have lost their lives, and the economy is in shambles. Amidst all of the chaos, you may have found yourself in a very unfamiliar position. If you’re like me, you like to plan. You plan your next career move very methodically, you allocate your time very intently, and you pride yourself on being a step ahead of the curve.


Consequently, when your planning principles aren’t fulfilled, you fall back into a daze and encounter self-imposed issues. Self-imposed because it’s difficult for you to realize and accept that these times have inherently come with an inability to plan. The lack of picking each step out in your daily routine has caused an upheaval in your life due to this pandemic’s fluidity.


Whether it be teaching your child from home while simultaneously being held responsible for being productive in working remotely, or losing your job and attempting to sign up for unemployment benefits, only to wait for two months before you get your first check, putting your livelihood at risk, these times are extremely difficult to navigate.


Stagnant


As someone who prides themself on self-improvement and growth, these times have been, at the very least, challenging. Navigating daily life over the past seven months has been nothing short of disconcerting. The pandemic has put together the best-suited ingredients to make us all feel unsettled, and this feeling stems from stagnation. I very much dislike feeling stagnant, always have. I like to devote time and energy into my individual growth as a person, and it has been more challenging than ever to do, because of the state of our world.


One would think that with most people working remotely and ultimately staying put, it would be a great time to find some ways to grow individually. No commute, lunches to pack, or other responsibilities, giving you more time to meditate, get more sleep, and spend time with family. If you have kids, this is likely not the case as you’ve become both parent, teacher, and worker simultaneously.


Yet, even then, you may have found a little more spare time on your hands than before, which could and should leave you feeling refreshed, reinvigorated, and ready to take on anything. But does it? Do you still feel uneasy? Or, like me, does it even feel at times like life is passing by? I can’t believe it’s about to be October already. This year seems like it won’t be easily forgotten, but one that we’ll surely want to forget for years to come.


What’s interesting is the psychology behind all of this. As humans, we’re always asking and yearning for more time. But, when we actually get that time, what do we do with it? I always tell myself that I’ll accomplish this goal and complete this task once I get more free time. You know, the ones I always whine about not being able to do, due to a lack of time. What’s noteworthy is that when many of us finally get this time, we don’t know what to do with it. For example, my girlfriend has been having issues revitalizing her workout routine.


With many gyms still closed and us not wanting to put our parents at risk since we spend time with them, she is having trouble remaining consistent. She reminds me this is because the gym has much more equipment than we do, and it’s merely an overall more conducive environment to her completing her workout. If she works out in our living room, the distractions are endless. I may be making noise, the animals, including two cats and two dogs, get in her way. What’s even worse, and has happened at times, is her letting these variables become so distracting that she doesn’t work out at all.


She has lost her sense of urgency to work out. I’ve told her it’s because of the pandemic’s doldrums. But you see, it’s a great learning opportunity for her and myself too. These times require a lot of initiative. Being at home all day, every day, makes it pretty easy to become a couch potato. We often revert to the mindset of, “I’ll do it tomorrow; I am gonna be home anyway.” This mindset shows itself in our daily lives and how productive we remain in such uncertain times. I, too, am no stranger to this stagnation. I first viewed this pandemic wide-eyed and bushy-tailed.


Of course, I don’t mean regarding the thousands of people who’ve lost their lives and their families. My sincerest condolences and prayers go out to them. At times, I’ve been tremendously worried, considering both of my parents are at high risk and have underlying conditions. What I mean is I viewed the pandemic as an opportunity, a chance to reflect, sit in stillness, and ultimately revitalize my love for writing, basketball, and growing in life.


I saw the extra free time I would get from having no commute to work, not having to pick out my clothes, and going out to dinner, movies, or anything else, as a chance to capitalize on these endeavors. Yet, I can say, for the most part, I haven’t. Why? This is all I’ve been waiting for, right? Just a little bit of time, and I could make things so much better.


Silver lining


Well, the truth is, I set expectations for myself that I wasn’t necessarily ready to meet. Sure, I started playing basketball more often and remained consistent for a while. But over the last few weeks, my motivation has decreased, primarily due to problems at work and being fatigued, but it has, nonetheless. I’ve written plenty of articles the past few months but haven’t marketed my website like I’ve wanted to throughout the pandemic. I figured I’d also take this extra free time to read more books about, and watch more videos on, self-improvement, and I hardly have.

So the question is, why? I believe the answer, and the certainty lies within me. The answer is two folded in that just because you have extra time doesn’t always mean you have to be doing something. Sometimes, clearing your mind and freeing yourself from everyday life expectations means doing absolutely nothing, and that’s okay. The silver lining, in that regard, centers around me not being so hard on myself. I do hold myself to a certain standard, but you have to know when to let your foot off the gas a little, and I believe I am starting to do that, which is causing the growth I’ve seen lately.


Another is realizing the circumstances. As humans, we are natural-born communicators. Being inside, all day, every day is not suitable for us. It causes what some of you might know as “cabin fever.” For months now, my girlfriend and I have been in hibernation, often seeing the light only when we go on our grocery store run, stockpiling enough items to where we don’t have to go again for another two to three weeks, taking the dogs on a walk, or seeing our parents. That’s it, no walks on the beach, no dining out, no museums, no parks, no nothing.


Honestly, these are some of the things we value most out of life as a couple. Going on adventures, exploring, being one with nature, learning new things, which have all been taken away from us since the pandemic started. There are, of course, pros to being inside all of the time. More quality time with each other, uncovering the many intricacies we each have. We cook most of our meals together now, allowing us to bond in a way we haven’t before. But at times, it’s also caused us to sit around looking at our phones, wondering why we’re not spending time with each other.


Additionally, since we are around each other every second of the day, there are times where we’ve gotten under each other’s skin. It’s led to arguments, some of which made us rethink some things, but we both feel we are stronger together because of it. It wasn’t an easy process either. This pandemic has tested our relationship in a way we’ve never known. We’ve grown tired of each other at times, but have collectively realized our circumstances are attributing to this.


We haven’t been able to do some of the things that make us happy, and at times, our relationship has suffered because of it. However, as I always say, we can either define our circumstances or let our circumstances define us. We’ve found certainty in navigating these unprecedented times together and have become more patient and understanding with one another because of it. We realize we should always be patient with one another, but with fluid times should come an increase in the level of patience.


Viewing these uncertain times with some certainty has allowed me and my girlfriend’s relationship, and us individually, to flourish under less than ideal conditions. What’s certain is that this pandemic will end one day. Another is that life is never certain. There’s always uncertainty in life, and there always will be. It’s an impenetrable variable that never goes away. But we can always find certainty amidst uncertainty; we just have to take a closer, deeper look within ourselves and those outside of us to do so.


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